We Walk the Line

We Walk the Line
We Walk the Line empowers tomorrow’s entrepreneurs with business and barista skills. We are a not-for-profit social enterprise working with people who need a chance.
Social Purpose: 
Empowering tomorrow’s entrepreneurs. We Walk the Line want to help socially excluded people who experience poverty of opportunity to set up their own micro business through a supported route to employment. Our primary target group are young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) or at Risk of NEET (RoN) because it is these people who the current education and employment system have often failed to work with effectively. There are around 850,000 young people who are classed at NEET within England & Wales. Our secondary group are ex-offenders and other disadvantaged groups including the homeless – all beneficiaries will be keen to start their own business but need extra support to have the confidence to take that first step. We Walk the Line’s focus is on self-employment – all our beneficiaries will be people who wish to start their own business but need extra support to have the confidence to take that first step. They have the entrepreneurial spark, but the current educational and labour market systems have failed to either ignite or support it effectively. We aim to change this with our experiential learning model.
Social Impact: 
We are at the pilot phase in our development – we have identified a partner to work with us on the development of an enterprise accreditation. We aim to take on our first cohort in early 2015 and will be assessing our impact as we develop our initial ‘learn & earn’ programme. Longer term, our outcomes will be primarily focused on supporting people into self-employment. We will develop the confidence and self-esteem of our beneficiaries and teach them new skills including business skills alongside barista techniques so they can run their own micro coffee franchise. With support from our partners, skills learnt through the apprenticeship programme will include, how to write a business plan, financial planning, licensing & insurance, how to build a customer base, customer service and stock management. We will provide ongoing mentoring support to our franchisees via a social franchise model. At the end of our programme our graduates will have developed the enterprise, entrepreneurship and employment skills necessary to hold down a job or run their own micro business. We will develop the users soft skills which are highly valued by employers alongside real world enterprise skills which many young people and employers complain the education system does not prepare them with – providing a supported work-based environment, enabling our apprentices to be not only ‘work ready’ but ‘business ready’.
Innovative Character: 
Schools and colleges often fail to provide real world learning and experience to help young people to gain experience to run their own business in a supportive holistic environment despite 65% of young people requesting this. It follows then that many people leave college into a series of short-term jobs where their entrepreneurial spirit can be extinguished and they give up on their dream. We don’t think there are other programmes which are focusing on an apprenticeship / social franchise approach to self-employment for the young and disadvantaged groups. Our employees will receive hands on training in running a business whilst receiving a salary. And we have identified a small number of key partners with expertise that can support us in the development of this new experiential labour market model and that’s why we are partnering with organisations who already work with disadvantaged groups preparing them for the next step. We want to be one path they can follow. If someone has that spark we want to nurture it. When these feeder organisations believe they are ready to embark on their journey we will interview them for our supported route to being their own boss.
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